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There’s no doubt The Voice has been able to hire some A-list coaches. From EGOT winners to Super Bowl performers, the NBC singing competition’s judges have been nothing short of impressive—to say the least. But who were the singers who were almost coaches on The Voice? Though the reality show has been able to cast household names like Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend, there have been plenty of famous artists who have turned the job down.
The Voice premiered in April 2011 with OG coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green. Since then, the show has spawned 16 seasons, 14 celebrity coaches and numerous international spinoffs in Australia, the United Kingdom and Italy. (The Voice Holland was actually the first version of the show to premiere in 2010. The American version of The Voice debuted soon after.) With so many iterations of The Voice and so many coaches, there are bound to be celebrities who have been asked to sit in the iconic swivel chair and press the coveted red button. To find out who they were, we did our research to find the famous singers who were almost coaches on The Voice. Oh, how we would love to see a showdown between Blake Shelton and Adele.
Countless contestants have auditioned with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” on The Voice, but the Grammy winner was almost a coach on the singing competition herself. The Daily Mirror reported in 2011 that the “Chasing Pavements” singer was asked to be a coach on the U.K. version of The Voice, alongside Cheryl and CeeLo Green (who was also a coach on the American version of The Voice at the time.) “Adele’s success is all down to her incredible voice and, in this way, embodies all that The Voice represents. She’s honest, funny and loved my millions of people of all ages,” a source told the publication at the time. “She really has ‘The Voice’ that can sell albums around the world so she know what to look for.” Adele has never commented on the rumors, but she did tell Radio 1’s Chris Moyles at the time that she was in the talks for something special, so it could may as well have been a Voice role. “There’s a possibility that I’m doing something quite big next year—I’ve got a meeting about it on Friday,” she said at the time.
We have Reba to thank for Blake Shelton on The Voice. In a 2019 interview on The Ty Bentil Show, Shelton revealed that The Voice originally wanted Reba as a coach. When the country superstar turned down the gig, her husband, Navel Blackstock, recommended Shelton as a judge, which is when the crooner’s Voice journey began. “If I’m not mistaken, they wanted Reba to be a coach on The Voice first. I hope I’m not saying something I shouldn’t say. It’s out there now. But they wanted Reba, and they knew they wanted a country artist to be a coach on The Voice to fill that lane,” he said. “So, Narvel told them, ‘You know, Reba can’t do it, you know, but hey, I got this other guy that I manage that’s got all the time in the world.'”
As for why Reba turned down the job, Blake suggested that it’s because the singer was busy with her show, Malibu Country, at the time and didn’t know what The Voice was. “She may have had her Malibu Country show going at the time, for whatever reason, she couldn’t do it, or they just decided it wasn’t the thing for her at the time,” he said. “‘What is The Voice? It sounds dumb, right? I don’t know, I’m Reba McEntire. I’m in this chair and I hit a button and my chair turns around.’ Like, it sounded weird to probably anybody they pitched it to, honestly.”
Gomez was an advisor on season 9 of The Voice in 2015, but would she be a coach? The “Lose You to Love Me” singer told Sirius XM Morning Mash-Up at the time that she wouldn’t say no if the role was offered to her. “I don’t know,” she said. “I wouldn’t be opposed to it!” Gomez’s fellow Disney Channel alums, Miley Cyrus and Nick Jonas, have both been judged on The Voice. Sounds like Gomez is open to it. The Voice just needs to make the call.
AceShowBiz reported in 2016 that Minaj reached out to The Voice for a role as a coach. A source told the site, though, that Minaj was turned down for the job because of her drama with Mariah Carey on American Idol and her beef with Miley Cyrus at the 2016 MTV VMAs. “Nicki Minaj recently tried to hit up The Voice to be a judge but they ain’t want her over there due to issues at American Idol with Mariah nor do they believe she has the likability to be a judge,” the insider said at the time. “Her beefs and attitude has really damaged her reputation and career in this respect. This had her really pissed her off especially considering Miley [Cyrus]’s presence on the show recently.”
Before her divorce from Shelton in 2015, Lambert was a frequent advisor for her then-husband’s team on The Voice. A source told Straight Shuter in 2016 that Lambert was considered for a role as a coach on the show, alongside her ex-husband, who apparently approved. Of course, this was before Shelton’s romance with Gwen Stefani, so the chances of Lambert actually joining as a judge now are next to impossible. “What is brilliant about The Voice is that it never is content not to evolve. The show is constantly looking to spice up its celebrity coaches to keep the show fresh. And nothing would be more exciting than putting together two exes fighting it out real time on TV,” the insider said at the time. “Blake is cool with the idea and Miranda hasn’t said no. Ironically it’s little Adam Levine who is not into it. He wants to keep Blake all to himself.”